Twitter recently hit 200 million users. While the platform gained popularity through the sheer number of celebrities using the social networking site, Twitter offers significant opportunities for businesses… not only for building your online brand but creating engaging conversations with your target market in order to generate leads.
But getting started with Twitter can be daunting, especially with the use of @’s and #’s shaping conversations. So, here are some tips to help you get started with using Twitter for your business…
1. Opening a Twitter Account
Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not have dedicated ‘business’ accounts. Therefore, you simply need to setup a Twitter account. This process is easy, but there are some simple rules that can ensure your account is setup and optimised effectively for you business:
- Twitter asks for your name when signing up. In order to have your business name, instead of your personal name – it is best to put the business name in this location. This will ensure people are able to find you easily on Twitter by searching for your company name.
- Once you have setup your account, make sure to add an image and choose a background that is simple and professional. You can do this by clicking on your business name in the top right-hand corner and selecting ‘Settings’.
- It is also important to add a short bio that shares your business’ main service areas, and also outlines why people would want to follow your business on Twitter. As there is a 160-character limit, you may need to play with the wording to get this right.
- Make sure you include your business website URL so it displays on your Twitter profile allowing your followers to quickly click through to your website if required.
QUICK TIP: If your business name is not available on Twitter, make sure to find an alternative that is not too long, and is as close to your business name as possible. For example: @Web_Profits
2. Twitter Terms
Twitter has a 140-character limit for each message, or ‘Tweet’, shared on the platform. In order to make the most of this character limit, there are certain functions you need to be aware of. Here is a list of Twitter terms and functions:
- Tweet: A Tweet is simply the message and content you share on Twitter. On Facebook, it is called a ‘Status Update’ and on Twitter it is called a ‘Tweet’.
- Follow / Follower: On Twitter, your fans or people who ‘Follow’ you are known as ‘Followers’. It is ideal to Follow back anyone who Follows you who is relevant to your business and industry. This is good Twitter etiquette, and not only shows you are active on Twitter but that you are interested in what your Follower(s) have to say.
- Mention: You can mention other people on Twitter, and similarly people can mention you by utilising the name you chose when signing up to Twitter with an @ symbol. For example, if you were writing a Tweet that included a link to an article written by the Australian Newspaper, you could include @Australian to show the source of the information you are sharing.
- ReTweet: When you see content / a Tweet shared by another person on Twitter, you can choose to share this content within your own Twitter. This is known as ‘ReTweeting’. This Tweet you have chosen to share will then appear exactly as it is displayed on your business’ Twitter.
- Twitter Stream: The Twitter Stream is the main area your Twitter opens up to after signing in. This ‘stream’ is a culmination of all the people you ‘Follow’ on Twitters Tweets.
- Message: A ‘Message’ is simply a direct message that you can send privately to a user on Twitter. The user must already ‘Follow’ you on Twitter to be able to send a direct message.
- Hashtag: Hashtags # are a really important element of Twitter, not only to assist building your followers, but also for promoting your credibility on the platform. When writing the content for your Tweets, look at the main topics that relate to the information you are sharing. These main topics are what should be hashed. It is also important to check Twitter by performing a search to ensure your hashed topic is ‘trending’. Utilising Hashtags also ensure that your shared content will appear effectively in searches performed on Twitter.
- Trending: The term ‘trending’ is used in Twitter for when a topic is being widely discussed or Hashtagged. It is ideal to only hash topics that are ‘trending’ in order to ensure your content shows up in a popular topic area in the search component of Twitter.
QUICK TIP: Make sure not to use more than 4 Hashtags per Tweet. Hashtags used in moderation are effective, so make sure you hash the most important topics in your Tweet.Think of Hashtags as the theme of your Tweet.
3. Developing Effective Tweets
Tweeting on Twitter allows businesses to quickly and effectively share content, news flashes, and sound-byte information. The 140-character restriction can often make developing content difficult. Here are some quick tips you can follow to ensure you are Tweeting the right type of content for your business:
- Your Tweet should add value to the people reading them and those who Follow you… they should provide education or relevant industry updates. Share blog articles from your website, industry news, articles, videos and photos.
- If you have a blog on your website, make sure to share these articles on your Business’ Twitter. The more articles you write for your blog, the more content you can Tweet through Twitter that provides a link back to your website, which is the ultimate goal.
- Like Facebook, it is important to not sell or push your business, services or products through the Tweets you share on Twitter. Focus on education, updates and engagement.
- Engagement is the key with the information you Tweet. The more interesting the content you share on Twitter, the more likely you are to build Followers and keep those already Following you. The Twitter Follower can be fickle, so it is important to maintain your Followers’ interests.
- When sharing content on Twitter, it is ideal to share the link to the content you are referring to. This not only builds your Followers’ interest, but also assists with further educating your market. When sharing online articles on Twitter, use link-shorteners to be able to help assess click rates. A free link shortener option is http://bit.ly
QUICK TIP: If you are just getting your business involved with Twitter, as a starting point try Tweeting twice per day. You can then build this up to focusing on Tweeting quality content 15 times per day. It is important to keep momentum within Twitter for your business. To ensure you keep your Followers interested, make sure to build a strategy that is manageable, with Tweets scheduled daily / weekly.
From a business perspective, Twitter allows you to quickly share information, gather market intelligence and build valuable relationships with people who are interested and care about your company and your brand.
Make sure you’re part of the conversation about your brand on Twitter…